You Want It Darker?

While there’s no need to exaggerate or indulge in desperation, dear people, it’s autumn and it’s going to get worse daylight-wise for another couple of months. It’s still perfectly acceptable to enjoy rosé and to not wear tights, but whether we want it or not, it’s getting darker.

Before the situation gets out of hands, I wanted to introduce three indie books that definitely fall on the dark side. I have an occasional penchant for psychological thrillers. These books don’t necessarily fit this category, but it’s the closest I can think of. All have female protagonists, all feature guns and all are very well written. 

Ottessa Moshfegh became the literary equivalent to Pearl Jam of 2018 (no, this is not a thing. I just made it up.) with “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” which I thoroughly enjoyed. Eileen is her first novel, and I was tempted to read it after Rest and Relaxation. Glad I did. Eileen is a book full of pathos and gory detail, yet it’s sprinkled with very dry humour. But only ever so little. It’s an odd book, a weird story, but a beautiful piece of dark writing. (Plot sans spoilers: Eileen takes care of her alcoholic father and works at the boys’ prison. Dreams of moving to the Big City and making a living. Enter a glamorous colleague. Combine with alcohol, abuse and a weapon. Shake.)

Gun Love by Jennifer Clement is one of the most original books I’ve read in a long time. The story itself is fantastic, how she pulls all the strings just so and how everything comes together in the end. The book is set in the borderlands of Mexico (in Florida) and is a cross-cutting critique of US gun control, drug cartels, juvenile custody system and homeless people trying to make it alive living in trailer parks. Not your regular “Confessions of a Shopaholic” -setting it ain’t, but the book is not depressing. It’s a love story twisted many ways: be it America’s love for guns, people’s love for freedom or the loving bond between family members and communities. You really might want to give this one a go.

​The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh is something I’m still processing a bit – it’s also very special, but in a different way. It is an eerily calm story of a massively f***ed up family that lives on an island and the parents basically torture their grown up daughters in order to “shield their bodies from men”. As the events take place on an island, the sea plays a big role, and I felt that the calming waters were woven in the story so as to calm the reader when the inexplicable methods started to appear in the story – most of the torture, or “methods” are based on the various uses of water: hot, cold, salty or sweet. Again, not a feel-good novel à la Nora Ephron, but definitely worth a read if you want to experience a weirdly sinister version of the  “Something’s Got to Give” Hamptons-based feel-good movie. 

As soon as it started to get dark at 8pm, I switched my green tea staple sencha to Taiwanese milky oolong. It’s a fermented version of oolong  tea (so it only has the sweet milky tang, but is completely dairy-free) and it’s fabulous. I also read in the science-encyclopedia Into the Gloss that peppermint tea could possibly help with hormonal acne situations (in case one is superstitious, and I can really be anything to get my skin to clear up). My visage has been acting out for no bloody reason lately, so I stocked up on peppermint tea and have been sipping that at work. So far zero progress to report. Shall keep you posted on that.

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